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Weisner: Proposed ward map follows guidelines

Proposed Aurorward map 2012

Proposed Aurora ward map 2012

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Updated: December 18, 2012 8:29PM

AURORA — Mayor Tom Weisner said the city’s ward redistricting committee “did a great job” redrawing wards and acted within guidelines during the process.

City staff presented a proposed ward map to aldermen at Committee of the Whole Tuesday night.

“Whether or not there could be some legal action is always a matter of speculation,” Weisner said.

In 2002, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund sued the city on behalf of a group of Latino residents after Aurora adopted a redrawn map in 2002. The U.S. District Court and 7th Circuit Court of Appeals found that the map did not violate voters’ rights, but the lawsuit still cost the city $800,000, according to city Chief of Staff Carie Anne Ergo.

Weisner said Tuesday the 2002 suit was “superfluous” and “generally without a whole lot of basis.”

The new ward map should have at least two wards that are 65 percent or more Hispanic, constituting a “supermajority,” according to city attorney Blanca Dominguez.

Under the latest map draft, the 2nd and 3rd wards meet the criteria of “supermajority” Hispanic wards. Under the recommended map, the 2nd Ward is 86 percent Hispanic and the 3rd Ward is 68 percent Hispanic.

The 1st, 4th and 6th wards also have Hispanic majorities under the proposal.

Alderman John “Whitey” Peters, 5th Ward, said he trusted his fellow aldermen who served on the ward remap committee, but asked if the map will hold up to legal scrutiny.

Bob O’Connor, alderman at-large and commitee chairman, said the map conforms with all of the directions mandated by court cases.

“I think we did a very responsible job, but ... anybody can challenge anything on any basis,” O’Connor said.

Aldermen will vote on the proposed ward map at City Council next week.

July Council dates

Weisner also announced an updated July council schedule Tuesday night.

The city will cancel a Committee of the Whole meeting scheduled for July 3 due to the Independence Day holiday falling on a Wednesday this year. Instead, Committee of the Whole will meet July 10, and a City Council meeting will follow on that date at 6 p.m. or when the Committee of the Whole meeting ends, said City Clerk Cheryl Vonhoff.

A Committee of the Whole meeting will be held July 17, and a City Council meeting will be held July 24. There will be no meeting July 31.

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